What draws an author to spend a decade working on a fiction novel about a polygamist? It’s actually pretty simple for Brady Udall. “Without polygamy, I wouldn’t exist,” says the author. His great-great grandfather was a polygamist, and his great-great grandmother was his second wife. In 1998, long before the HBO series Big Love or TLC’s reality show Sister Wives, Udall wrote an article on contemporary polygamy for Esquire. What he found while researching the piece surprised and fascinated him, leading him to write The Lonely Polygamist. At the center of the story is Golden, who, at 48, calls three houses home, each populated with several of his children. Impacted by the recession, his construction business takes him to Nevada, far away and a welcome respite from his complicated life in Utah. Working for a miffed friend of his father’s, Golden’s life becomes even more complicated when he falls for the boss’ wife, the polar opposite of his wives at home, and develops a taste for mescal. “Golden’s life occasions a series of hard choices and often-rueful meditations, and Udall smartly observes how each plays out,” said Kirkus of the book. With wry humor and haunting insight, The Lonely Polygamist explores the endless difficulties and intrigues of patriarchal family politics as seen through the eyes of a man, many wives and their children.
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The Lonely Polygamist
Norton / May / 9780393062625 / $26.95
This book was featured in the Kirkus Best of 2010